Imagine living with someone who was never even tempted to sin.
In a previous lesson, I mentioned the fact that Jesus had never committed a sin. He was totally sinless; and so I asked you to imagine what it must have been like to grow up with someone like that. James, and Jude and the rest of Jesus’ brothers and sister must have wondered how Jesus could even do it.
Just like everyone else, I believe that Jesus was tempted by sin, but He personally was not tempted to sin. In other words, its one thing to be exposed to a potential temptation, but it’s quite another thing to be tempted in your heart TO sin, where you actually want tocommit the deed. From my understand and based on what I read in James 1, I don’t think Jesus ever had a thought or desire to commit any kind to sin or wanted to yield to any potential temptations that came His way.
Understanding this helped me to understand what James wrote in James 1:9 where he wrote, “13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”
God the Father, God the Spirit, nor God the Son have never had a desire to yield to a temptation to do kind of evil. There has never, ever been one inkling, desire, or twinge to do anything evil on His part. And because of that, it is absolutely impossible for Him to tempt anyone of us to do evil. Sin and evil temptations are just not part of His nature.
Why is God like that? Because through and through, God is absolutely pure, 100 percent void of any kind of evil, hence we use the term HOLY. And that’s why we cannot enter His presence dirty and stained by the sins we have committed without first being cleansed by Jesus. (When & where does this happen? When we accept Jesus Lord and allow Him to remove our sin in Baptism See Colossion 2:9-13)
And that’s the kind of brother James grew up with. Not once did Jesus ever seem tempted to sin, nothing evil ever seem like a temptation for Him. His eyes never stared longer than they should have with desire in them for something impure or with lust. It just wasn’t there in Him. Nor did He try to tempt others to do anything wrong. He never tried to get someone else to lie for Him or make up stories that weren’t true. He did not try to get his siblings to take anything or do anything that was inappropriate. Never once did He try to convince someone else to hurt, abuse, or cheat another. It just wasn’t in His nature.
So when James writes, 13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”he wrote from experience; he never saw his brother do anything like that.
Unfortunately James like each and every one of us was not like Jesus. All of us are tempted to do something inappropriate. Temptation in itself is not bad. But unlike Jesus, we are weak, we look longer than we should, we crave and want when we should walk away, and then we sin.
And even though some of us have been saved from our sinful condition and cleansed by the blood of Jesus, we still have a problem don’t we? We are still weak and feel tempted to sin, and we keep on sinning! So what can we do?
#1- When tempted – James tells us that we…Should not blame God
Verse 13 says “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone.” We humans are pretty good when it comes to the “blame game.” We don’t like to take responsibility for our own failures or sins. We prefer to blame it on someone else. “Well, I would never have smoked had it not been for my dad who smoked.” Or “I remember when my friend took me to a bar and bought me my first beer and that started my drinking problem.”
It’s always easier to blame someone else for our failures than it is to own up to them or admit some kind of error on our part. (Guess it started with Adam “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”Genesis 3:12)
A manager of a minor league baseball team was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun–until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked him in the eye.
Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. “You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it!”
People also tend to blame God for bad things that happens to them or family members “Well God just created me this way”; but this is incorrect thinking.
God cannot be tempted to sin. Temptation holds no power over Him. And God does not tempt anyone.
OK, if this is true then why are we tempted to sin? It should be obvious to us. It’s because we live in a messed up, broken, sinful world; but God didn’t mess it up or break it, man did. Mankind chose to give in to our lusts and we sinned. Consequently, there will always be the temptation in this world to sin. BUT IT’S NOT GOD’S FAULT, WHAT HE CREATED HE CREATED GOOD.
To be totally sinless is almost beyond our comprehension. We have sinned so much and so often that we just can’t imagine anyone being without sin. The only ones we can see in this sinless state is a newborn baby.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets real thing, it is irresistible.”Have you noticed how irresistible a baby is? I mean, when you see a newborn baby don’t you just want to look at it and/or hold it and cuddle it? Little babies are innocent and pure. That’s probably why Jesus said that we need to become like them.
#2 WHEN TEMPTED TO SIN DON’T BLAME GOD, BLAME YOURSELFVerse 1:14 & 15 say,“but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”
Each one is tempted by his own evil desires. Enter the wrong place at the wrong time, and get exposed to the wrong thing and we would all fall into sin because we are weak!
Thomas Boston (a Scottish church leader of the 1600s) wrote: “Temptation is the fire that brings up the scum of the heart.”
A Reader’s Digest reader wrote: While my wife and I were shopping at a mall, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble you’re in?”
Each one is tempted by his own evil desires. Your temptation may not be for sexual lust. It may be something else. For example, some people shouldn’t go shopping. Why? Because they are aroused by what they see and when they see that certain something they can’t help but buy it. Some people can’t resist eating certain foods. Some cannot resist certain drinks The problem of: “I want” can quickly turn into idol worship. That is, we want that something more than we want to know God and please Him by resisting that something.
I John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever..”
Do you hear what John the Apostle is saying here? If you love those evil things then you really don’t love Father God all that much. Sometimes I feel so guilty for I what think and do. Like Paul said in Romans 7:21-25, “I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Most of the temptations that we face in life are summed up there in 1 John… 1- lust for sensual pleasure 2- lust for things pleasing to the eyes (materialistic desires) 3- Pride of being appreciated, praised, or glorified.
But in reality, if there is anything about our lives, our talents, our gifts, our material goods, etc. that appears good or great, it’s because they are a gift from God and He alone deserves the glory! That’s what James says in verses 16 & 17. He wrote,“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters.17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”
#3. SO WHEN TEMPTED – TURN TO GOD – LOOK UP Someone said: “To realize God’s presence is the one sovereign remedy against temptation.”
Practicing the presence of God… realizing that He is with us, by us, even in us can help curb our desire and appetite for that something we should not get involved in or with. We need to recognize that God and His strength and His presence offers us a way to resist or out of temptation to sin!
I Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. (Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun.., in other words God has see it all before. Paul goes on to say…) And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” God will always provide a way out; we just have to chose to go His way rather than the way of temptation. Sometimes this is hard!
A boy by the name of Alexander was trying to save all the pennies he could in order to buy a baseball bat. But he had a hard struggle. One night when he was saying his prayers, his mother heard him say fervently: “O Lord, please help me save my money for a baseball bat. And, God, don’t let the ice cream man come down this street!”
We all need to look up and pray a similar prayer: “Lord, keep so and so away from me. And please keep me away from those things that tempt me. Please help me Lord!”
And I believe that God can help us remove those desires, those temptations from our life. He can even renew us if we let Him, and if we follow His lead and will.
Some time after the conversion of Augustine, he came face to face with the woman who had cause him to sin for many months. She dragged him deeper and deeper into a sinful relationship until he was finally freed from those bonds by the regenerating power of the cross. Later when he passed her by he could only offered her a formal nod of his head. Once she stopped him and said, “Augustine, don’t know me anymore? See, it is I.” Looking at her a moment, and knowing that she no longer held him in her evil spell, Augustine replied, “But it is not I.” God can regenerate us and make us new again.
With God’s help these things won’t haunt you anymore. The Question I have for you today is; ‘Will you let Him help you?’ I hope so. Jesus said, ‘I have come to set you free that you may be free indeed.’ John 8.